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The Zimbabwean government has imposed tariffs on a range of essential goods and services to protect local manufacturers and stabilize the country’s economy. The move, which was announced in December 2023, has been met with mixed reactions from industry players and consumers.

Zimbabwe imposes tariffs on basic goods to protect local manufacturers

The government argued that the tariffs were necessary to prevent cheap imports from flooding the market and forcing local manufacturers out of business. Zimbabwean manufacturers have been struggling to compete with imports, which are often cheaper due to favorable exchange rates and government subsidies in other countries.

The imposition of tariffs is part of the government’s broader strategy to stabilize the economy and address the acute shortage of foreign currency. The government has also taken measures such as wholesale foreign exchange auctions and strict controls on local currency issuance.

Some industry players welcomed the government’s decision, saying it would help boost local production and create jobs. But others in the industry have expressed concern that the tariffs will result in consumers paying higher prices.

Zimbabwe’s leading sugar producer Hippo Valley has warned that the removal of tariffs on imported sugar has already led to a drop in local sugar sales. The company’s sales fell by 14% in the last quarter of 2023.

Zimbabwe’s other major food producer, Natfoods, has also suffered a decline in maize meal sales due to the prevalence of cheap imported maize meal. In the three months to September 2023, the company’s maize meal sales fell by 9%.

The government’s decision to impose tariffs could have a significant impact on the Zimbabwean economy. It remains to be seen whether the tariffs will achieve the government’s goal of protecting local manufacturers and stabilizing the economy, or whether they will result in consumers paying higher prices and increasing hardship for Zimbabwean households.

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